There's lots to talk about last night's show, but be sure to catch all of my recaps: there's week 7, week 6, week 5, week 4, week 3, week 2 and week 1. Make sure to read those before you get here. Alright, let's talk about the two fights on last night's show.
The episode opens with the old beef between Chris Cope and Shamar Bailey. If you're asking me if I thought it was real, I'd say yeah. I don't think they hated each other. Maybe Shamar was just using how he was annoyed by Chris to fuel him. Either way, there was something there genuine about Shamar's dislike for Chris. It didn't help that Cope did the "woo!" thing, but it never got to me like it got to Shamar. Just remember Cope can get under anyone's skin and Shamar liked his peace and quiet.
When it was announced Clay Harvison was going to fight Ramsey Nijem, I thought Clay had a decent chance. Ramsey's stand-up is not that good and I believed Clay had the takedown defense to eventually stop him. We were worried about the finger, but I was with Clay that when the adrenaline gets pumping he wouldn't even feel it. More on that fight in a moment.
It was pretty cool to see Brian Stann show up. I've never been in the Marines, but his life lessons and message helped put things in perspective. Besides, it's always important to listen to the lessons of UFC fighters that have done well and made a name for themsevles. I don't think Dana White would pick Brian Stann to talk to us by accident. The guy's done a lot and has a lot of important things to say. The only funny part is when we were woken up that morning where he spoke, we didn't know what was happening. No one told us we were going to be listening to Brian Stann. If you notice, I had on a button-down shirt because I thought they were taking us somewhere. Wishful thinking, I guess, but I was still happy to have Brian there. I know Clay liked it, too, because it was a familiar face for him.
Ok, back to the action. So how was Clay's finger? I've never dislocated a finger, so I don't know what it's like. I also can vouch for Clay: he's a tough dude. He never really complained about anything. He was also doing everything he could to rehab it. Every night he was icing it, every day taping it. It was better than when he injured it, but he didn't have enough time to get it back into competition shape.
As for the fight, we knew what Ramsey was going to do. He was going to take you down and grind on you. When I fought Ramsey's roommate, that's what he tried to do, too. What I noticed from the tape was how Ramsey was able to bait Clay. He used that big overhand right to get Clay to fire back hard and over commit. Ramsey waited for the retaliation, level changed and took him right to the floor.
Once on the back, Ramsey had a nice uppercut that flattened Clay out. Ramsey never rushed it, but took his time to push the action along at just the right moments. Before you know it, you're in too deep to get out. You have to give credit to the kid. Clay's a serious competitor and Ramsey was able to execute his gameplan perfectly. Not much more can be said about that.
As far as Shamar Bailey's back injury, I didn't know much about it. I didn't even know he had cut his forehead and needed stitches. Those guys were really good at concealing injuries.
Headed into the fight, I gave Cope a very good chance of winning. His jiu-jitsu isn't the best, but he's got good lateral movement, good striking and one thing we knew he had over Shamar: conditioning. Cope's not muscled up or even the best athlete ever, but he worked hard, took lessons seriously and was always ready to go three rounds. In a system like we were in where you have to fight three times or more in six weeks, that's probably the most important asset you can have.
I personally scored the first round for Cope. Who knows how much Shamar's back injury affected him? I don't, but I think Shamar's inability to take Cope down had more to do with Cope. He was technically beating Shamar to the punch every time. I don't mean striking, I mean when he needed to have his hips in place, he did. When he needed to hand fight, he did. We worked a ton of cage defense to prepare for this bout. Greg Nelson even came in and it was just cage takedown defense review over and over. Shamar doesn't try to double leg you in the middle of the cage. He backs you up and uses the cage. Because his takedown attempts were predictable, that gave us a great chance to get Cope ready. It also showed how one-dimensional Shamar was.
The second I thought was an easy pick for Cope. I thought it was going to a third round, but I have now idea how Shamar thought he won both rounds. It's cliche, but you can't leave it up to the judges even if I honestly think the fight should've had a sudden death round.
I thought the interaction between Shamar and Dana White was weird, but only because of Shamar. He went to Dana to tell him he wanted to make it entertaining, but he never really did that. He then used his back as an excuse for not being able to take Cope down. I don't understand that. Dana White doesn't want to hear excuses. You saw Clay got a lot of props for fighting injured even though he lost. Did you ever see Clay go to Dana White and say he tried to make it exciting? Nope. I don't know what Shamar was thinking with that.
Be sure to tune in next week. I'm sure you saw teaser footage of me going at it with some people. I can't say much except don't miss it! Thanks for all of the support over these past few weeks and watching me fight. If you want to contact me, get at me on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks again to SB Nation and I'll talk to you guys next week!